Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed invoking the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump past year at time when the White House had been plunged into chaos after the firing of FBI Director James Comey, according to a New York Times report Friday. Rosenstein told Andrew McCabe, then acing Federal Bureau of Investigation director, that he believed he could persuade Attorney General Jeff Sessions and John Kelly to join this effort, the Times reported.
The White House has not commented on the Rosenstein story.
Rosenstein says, "The New York Times' story is inaccurate and factually incorrect".
"I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the Department and are advancing their own personal agenda", Rosenstein said.
There is a lot to chew over in the blockbuster New York Times story about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein's erratic behavior in his first few weeks on the job, just after President Trump fired FBI Director Jim Comey on May 9, 2017.
The 25th Amendment to the Constitution spells out that a president can be declared "unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office" upon a majority vote of the vice president and the Cabinet. The report, which Rosenstein denied, creates even greater uncertainty for him in his position at a time when Trump has lambasted Justice Department leadership and publicly humiliated both him and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Rosenstein issued a rare statement himself forcefully denying the Times report. He also suggested that McCabe could also perhaps record Trump, the newspaper said.
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McCabe has no knowledge of how the memos were made available, said his lawyer Michael Bromwich.
After Rosenstein wrote a memo critical of Comey's handling of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's email investigation, Trump used it as a basis for firing Comey. Rosenstein oversees Mueller's investigation into possible links between the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and recently secured the cooperation of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.
In the ensuing days, the president and other members of his administration cited the memo to rationalize Comey's ouster, angering Rosenstein, who is said to have grown increasingly anxious his reputation was being sullied by the move.
"Spent very little time with Andrew McCabe, but he never took notes when he was with me", Trump tweeted. Sitting in on Mr. Trump's interviews with prospective F.B.I. directors and facing attacks for his own role in Mr. Comey's firing, Mr. Rosenstein had an up-close view of the tumult.
The move will nearly certainly reopen President Donald Trump's considerations into firing him. A federal grand jury is now looking into whether McCabe ought to be charged with a crime after an inspector general's report determined he "lacked candor" with the FBI about conversations the deputy director had with a reporter in 2016 about the ongoing investigation into the Clinton Foundation.
Rosenstein assumed oversight of the federal investigation into Russia's election interference past year, after Sessions recused himself due to his own contacts with Russian officials during the campaign.